A TikToker working as a surgical resident, highlighting the mystifying realm of pricing in the American medical system, claimed that a scrub tech makes $80 an hour to prepare for a procedure a surgical resident would be paid just $12 an hour to do.
The video comes from Dr. Daisy Sanchez, a TikTok influencer with more than 1.2 million followers. Posted on Dec. 30 and gathering more than 5.3 million as of Friday, the short video shows a scrub tech at work with an on-screen caption reading, “Making $80/hr setting up surgeries.” It then cuts to Sanchez in her white medical coat, with a caption reading, “Making $12/hr performing surgeries.”
The scrub tech, it turns out, is also a TikToker — namely, Liloledeja, who has a respectable follower count of just over 50,000 and a series of viral videos to her credit.
While Sanchez calling out the disparity could be seen as critical of the healthcare system, she’s also encouraging scrub techs to ‘get their bags.’ A caption accompanying the video, addressing Liloledeja, reads, “Girl yes! Get your money,” with a heart emoji attached.
@thedaisysanchez @Liloledeja CST ♬ Funny – Gold-Tiger
The video attracted a number of commenters who underscored Sanchez’s support for scrub techs making that amount of money.
“Me looking at the comments to find the best route to take in the medical field with good pay and less stress,” said one commenter inspired to make a career change.
Another shared a scrub tech experience, asserting, “Scrub tech here. It’s true if you are a traveling tech you are making up to 80-90 [an] hour!”
That inspired Sanchez to reply, “I had no idea but I loooove that for you!”
Other commenters counterargued that the pay for scrub techs, while good, is typically not that good. One remarked, “Don’t let the pay fool you, that usually only applies to travelers. My hospital caps out at $27.”
One obvious question the video raised was the comparatively low $12 an hour Sanchez said she’s paid to actually do the surgeries. According to Indeed — in an article titled, “How Much Do Surgical Residents Make?” — “the average medical resident made $61,200 in 2019,” though it can be slightly higher in some specialties. The article pointed out that “residents in plastic surgery and aesthetic medicine make $65,600, and specialized surgery residents have an average annual salary of $65,700.”
Per Sanchez’s match, someone making this salary would be working about 98 hours a week for the pay to work out to $12 an hour. That’s not implausible, given the demands placed on medical and surgical residents. But it’s also not advisable per industry standards; according to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s guidelines, an 80-hour weekly maximum is advised for residents.
As that organization notes in online literature, “Programs and residents have a shared responsibility to ensure that the 80-hour maximum weekly limit is not exceeded. While the requirement has been written with the intent of allowing residents to remain beyond their scheduled work periods to care for a patient or participate in an educational activity, these additional hours must be accounted for in the allocated 80 hours when averaged over four weeks.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Sanchez via email for comment.